On this day in history : 1st September 1960 – The British government gives the green light for betting shops to open on the high street – as from the 1st of May 1961….

The announcement followed the introduction of the new Betting and Gaming Act…. The aim was to remove gambling from the street and end the practice of runners – who collected from punters on behalf of bookmakers…. At the time betting was a rather complicated business – it was archaic and inconsistent…. Anyone wishing to place a bet had to open an account with a bookmaker and prove they were credit worthy….

From January 1961 public houses were permitted to have fruit machines and other slot machines….it also became legal to have a small wager on card games, such as bridge…. Then from May the 1st approved bookmakers were issued with a license or permit from the Racecourse Betting Control Board….

Following the beginning of May around 100 betting shops a week were opening up…. Within six months there were at least 10,000….and within five years 1,000 casinos had opened…. Two more Gaming Acts, in 1963 and 1968, took things further, introducing licences for other forms of gaming….

In 1970 a new Gaming Act tightened up restrictions as there had been too many loopholes to exploit…. This was also to cover games such as bingo…. With the advent of the National Lottery in 1994 and the growth of on-line gambling the industry is worth billions…. In October 2004 a Gambling Bill was introduced to tighten regulation for betting on the internet….

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